Social Media: Now in the Palm of Our Hands

Posted by Brianna Shawhan

iPhone 4 courtesy of Yutaka Tsutano on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons.

With the invention of smart phones such as the iPhone and Droid, and tablets such as the iPad and Kindle, people can carry all of their favorite websites on the go. The days of lugging a laptop around or waiting until you get home to boot up your computer are over.

According to The New York Times, there were more global shipments of smart phones than personal computers in 2011.

Therefore, journalists have to come up with new ways to reach the public. Finding out how people use their smart phones and tablets is a key component. Do they use it to check social media? Which sites get the most traffic? Do they play games? Or read the news? And how can we use apps to gain revenue?

According to Knight Digital Media Center, 84% of people who own an iPad use it to read about breaking news and current events, and about half of Facebook’s members log in on their mobile devices, reported The New York Times.

Smart phone apps have caused a problem for companies such as Facebook because they have not yet figured out a way to make money off them. Since screen space is limited on smart phones, people have less patience for advertisements.

But when it comes to newspapers and magazines, subscriptions have risen, gaining new revenue for the companies.

Poynter reported that iPhone and iPad’s Newsstand caused a surge of downloads and subscriptions to newspapers and magazines after it was released. The New York Times iPad app saw 1.8 million new downloads the week Newsstand came out. National Geographic’s app also grew and became the 18th most popular free app.

Why do you think newspapers and magazines have successfully made money through smart phones, while social media sites have not? Do you think there is a way for social media sites to make money? What do you think the future holds for smart phone applications?

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